Notice how impersonal and self-promotional holiday cards are these days? "Today’s cards may appear more personalized—with photos of spouses, kids and pets," Eric Hoover writes at the Washington Post. Yet on the backside of each card, "I usually find no trace of ink, no original message." Just a few years ago, most holiday cards included some kind of missive—or at least a signature. Now it's a made-to-order card with a standard greeting or, even worse, "imperatives such as 'dream,' 'smile' and 'laugh out loud.' Can’t we wish each other well without giving orders?"
Hoover spears a few major offenders, like the couple that sends him a fridge magnet of their son each year, and friends whose card included a sonogram of their child: "Yes, this glimpse inside our friend’s uterus made me feel closer to her. Much too close." Hoover admits that he and his wife aren't blameless (they pay an artist to draw a spiffy image for their holiday cards) but they also take time to write about 60 handwritten messages per year. "Even some of the most harried parents we know manage to spend several hours a week on Facebook, usually posting updates about their kids. Why not log off and spend a few minutes writing something personal?" Click for his full piece. (Read more holidays stories.)